The Clark County School District could see a vote in late October on reopening schools, but only if public health conditions allow it, school board members said this week.
The school board is set to receive another update on distance education on Oct. 8, though a vote isn’t scheduled for that date, according to a statement from the district sent shortly after Gov. Steve Sisolak’s announcement Tuesday easing restrictions on gathering sizes.
But it’s not off the table for the following meeting on Oct. 22.
School board President Lola Brooks said the board is now getting an update every two weeks rather than 30 days and that she expects the Oct. 8 presentation to answer the questions the board had at its last meeting.
The Oct. 8 presentation will be a discussion item only, Brooks said, and if the board then wants to take a vote at its next meeting on Oct. 22, it would direct Superintendent Jesus Jara to bring the topic back as an action item.
Possible Oct. 22 vote
She added that any possible vote on reopening on Oct. 22 would depend on the health factors outlined by Southern Nevada Health District interim Health Officer Fermin Leguen, who said on Sept. 24 that Clark County data still presented a higher risk to reopening schools.
The gold standard to begin reopening schools is five new cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period, he said, though other factors are also taken into account.
Asked if an October vote would still mean reopening schools in January, Brooks said the presentation would offer a clearer view of the reopening timeline, whether that’s in January or sooner for some students.
She said that while she wouldn’t want to get people’s hopes up, she also believes families need a light at the end of the tunnel.
Board Vice President Linda Cavazos also said that whether the board holds a vote on Oct. 22 depends on public health data.
She added that any reopening plan that differed from what the board originally approved would require a separate motion by the board.
Updates every 30 days
In July, the board approved distance learning for the first semester of school, with updates provided every 30 days on public health conditions. Depending on what statewide restrictions were still in place at the end of the first semester, the district could then either remain under the distance learning model, reopen under the rotating cohort model or return full time.
Any plans for an earlier reopening would need to be disclosed publicly on Oct. 8, Cavazos added.
Trustee Danielle Ford said she was concerned that the board would be offered only one option when it comes to reopening, particularly if staying shut would necessitate furloughs. She said she has suggested that any staff in danger of furloughs instead be offered another role based on their skill set.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.